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New Mexico family in federal firearms case wants US Supreme Court to review case

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LAS CRUCES, New Mexico — Three New Mexico family members convicted of making false statements connected to a firearms sting want the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case.

Defense attorneys for Rick Reese, his wife Terri Reese and their son Ryin Reese have petitioned the nation's highest court to examine the case after a federal appeals court denied them a new trial, the Las Cruces Suns-New reported (_http://goo.gl/9iL2zE).

In August 2012, a jury convicted the three of making false statements on federal firearms-sales forms. They were acquitted of most of the charges that they sold weapons to Mexican drug cartels.

But U.S. District Court Judge Robert Brack granted a defense request for a new trail in February 2013 because prosecutors failed to disclose that a key prosecution witness, Luna County sheriff's investigator Alan Batts, was himself under criminal investigation. Defense attorneys argued the information would have allowed them to challenge his credibility.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later reversed Brack's decision.

According to court filings, the Reese family members now hope to avoid prison time.

One of their joint motions asks Brack to consider the Reeses' crimes misdemeanors rather than felonies, according to court filings. They argue, in part, that when it comes to certain record-keeping offenses, licensed dealers, such as the Reeses, can be prosecuted only for misdemeanors.

The other joint motion objects to a presentence report assembled by the federal probation and parole office. The defense attorneys contend the report contains factual errors and recommends an improperly enhanced sentence.

The presentence report is not available as public record, as other filings are. But C.J. McElhinney, the attorney for Ryin Reese, said the report recommends a prison term of five years.

The Reeses' attorneys argue the more appropriate prison term would be between 15 and 21 months, based on federal sentencing guidelines cited in the court filings.

Rick Reese and Ryin Reese both were incarcerated for about a year and a half as the case moved through the legal system. Terri Reese served about seven months in jail.

Sentencing has not been scheduled.

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